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$700 Gaming build for Aion, Civ V, Black Ops & MW2

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January 25, 2011 1:12:27 AM

Hello all! Hope I got the format right. I'm a first-time poster, but frequent visitor. I've found a lot of great information and advice here, so hope I can get your feedback on this build.


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: First week of February

BUDGET RANGE: Up to $700, but cheaper the better within my goals stated under Additional Comments, before rebates.

SYSTEM USAGE: Gaming

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, CD/DVDROM

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: I've always preferred AMD processors with geforce video cards, but I'm willing to try anything if it means better performance to price ratio within my budget. I mainly stick with that because I know more about their products then with Intel chips/mboards and ATI/AMD Radeon cards.

OVERCLOCKING: Only if I need it to reach 60+ fps

MONITOR RESOLUTION: It'll be 1280x1024 until I get a new widescreen monitor at 1440x900, probably in mid-2011.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: It'll be used primarily for Aion, Civ V, and the Call of Duty series. My priority is playing those at the highest quality possible (at least average-to-high settings and 60+ fps) within my budget. If something appears like overkill, please let me know. I'd love to get this build under $500-600 if my performance goals are met.

Edit: Thought I better clarify that better. If I can get 60+fps on medium settings in those games, then I'm good and rather trim off or adjust anything unnecessary.


I pieced together the following build just based on mixed information from forums, performance charts/reviews, and newegg feedback. I'm comfortable tweaking it to death to get the most out of it, but want to make sure I'm working with something as future-proof as possible because I'll upgrade parts here and there as often as I can afford it (i.e. getting a good cpu cooler, adding more memory, adding a 2nd vcard for crossfire or SLI/Xfire, etc.)


CPU: AMD Athlon II X4 640 Propus 3.0GHz, using stock heatsink & fan for now
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
instead of:
AMD Phenom II x2 555 BE, using stock heatsink & fan for now
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Motherboard: ASUS M4A88T-V EVO/USB3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU: MSI R5770 Hawk Radeon HD 5770 1GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB 240-Pin DDR3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case: COOLER MASTER Elite RC-310-BWN1-GP
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

More Case Fans: COOLER MASTER R4-L2S-122B-GP 120mm 4 BLUE LED LED Case Fan
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: CORSAIR Enthusiast Series CMPSU-650TX 650W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hard Drive: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
instead of:
Western Digital Caviar Black WD5002AALX 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


These choices came out to $697.91 before shipping so right on target, but I'd like to know where I can improve on it. What do you guys think?


Thank you in advance for any help or advice you can offer!
January 25, 2011 1:52:13 AM

drop the dual-core and get a quad, it will be better to get an Athlon II x4 then an Phenom II x2.
January 25, 2011 2:14:57 AM

mattius92 said:
drop the dual-core and get a quad, it will be better to get an Athlon II x4 then an Phenom II x2.



Ok, so I dropped the Phenom II x2 and added AMD Athlon II X4 640 Propus 3.0GHz - Came out to roughly the same price since the x4 was $10 more but free shipping. Thanks!
Related resources
January 25, 2011 4:44:40 AM

Might need to add speakers somewhere in there. Mine are dying as I type this lol :sarcastic: 
January 25, 2011 5:27:36 AM

I found that same question asked on a couple other forums and it sounds like it won't work if there is no mention of 1600 on my mobo details. At best, it might work as 1333 memory instead but I'd rather stick with true 1333 memory if it's a gamble. Thank you for the suggestion though.
January 25, 2011 5:27:39 AM

Irishchai said:
Can I use that memory at 1600 (PC3 12800)? The motherboard only said DDR3 2000(O.C.)/1333/1066 so I wasn't sure.


Yes, you can run the 1600MHz RAM at 1333, which may allow you to tighten its timings.
January 25, 2011 7:13:55 AM

I'm thinking of swapping the 5770 with a Geforce GTX 460 768 or GTX 460 SE. Similar price to the 5770, but the 460 is getting better performance reviews and benchmarks. I'm also more familiar with nVidia and always liked their cards/drivers. I realize I'd have to get an SLI ready mobo or forget dual cards with my current mobo though. Any thoughts/suggestions?
January 25, 2011 7:39:28 AM

Irishchai said:
I found that same question asked on a couple other forums and it sounds like it won't work if there is no mention of 1600 on my mobo details. At best, it might work as 1333 memory instead but I'd rather stick with true 1333 memory if it's a gamble. Thank you for the suggestion though.


It's not a gamble. 1600MHz is the memory's max speed. It will run slower no problem. You may not have luck tightening its timings, but you don't have to do that. It will be at least as good as the 1333 with a higher eventual resale value if nothing else. I'm curious what threads you saw suggesting otherwise.

Edit: Googling around I found some threads you likely saw. The thing is, everyone I read saying that was just guessing. Some even explicitly said "I have no clue, but I'd get the 1333 to be safe." 1600 will run at 1333 just fine. It's like saying "My car's rated for 120mph - am I risking damage by driving it slower?" ;) 
January 25, 2011 11:57:00 AM

Irishchai said:
Hello all! Hope I got the format right. I'm a first-time poster, but frequent visitor. I've found a lot of great information and advice here, so hope I can get your feedback on this build.


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: First week of February

BUDGET RANGE: Up to $700, but cheaper the better within my goals stated under Additional Comments, before rebates.

SYSTEM USAGE: Gaming

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, CD/DVDROM

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: I've always preferred AMD processors with geforce video cards, but I'm willing to try anything if it means better performance to price ratio within my budget. I mainly stick with that because I know more about their products then with Intel chips/mboards and ATI/AMD Radeon cards.



CPU: AMD Athlon II X4 640 Propus 3.0GHz, using stock heatsink & fan for now
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
instead of:
AMD Phenom II x2 555 BE, using stock heatsink & fan for now
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Motherboard: ASUS M4A88T-V EVO/USB3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU: MSI R5770 Hawk Radeon HD 5770 1GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB 240-Pin DDR3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case: COOLER MASTER Elite RC-310-BWN1-GP
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

More Case Fans: COOLER MASTER R4-L2S-122B-GP 120mm 4 BLUE LED LED Case Fan
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: CORSAIR Enthusiast Series CMPSU-650TX 650W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hard Drive: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
instead of:
Western Digital Caviar Black WD5002AALX 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


These choices came out to $697.91 before shipping so right on target, but I'd like to know where I can improve on it. What do you guys think?


Thank you in advance for any help or advice you can offer!


Personally I would dump the Asus Mthbd for a ASRock 870 EXTREME3 AM3 AMD 870. Dump the Case and fans and just get the Antec 300 Illusion. Replace the 5770 with the Asus GTX460 768mb card, which is faster than the 5770. Replace you memory for better Gskill memory and I went with the cheaper Antec EA 500 Green Power supply to save money. You could also upgrade to the Antec Nec 620 PS. Sorry the price for the Corsair 650 PS just isn't worth it when Antec is just as good and cheaper. Too bad the sold out of the Antec EA 650.

Price: $709.02 before rebates (with Corsair 650W)
http://secure.newegg.com/Shopping/ShoppingCart.aspx?Sub...

New Price: $669.92 before rebates (with Antec EA Green 500)
http://secure.newegg.com/Shopping/ShoppingCart.aspx?Sub...

This will definitely give you a bang for your buck and will help towards future builds. And you get to stick with AMD and Geforce cards. :bounce: 
January 25, 2011 4:42:09 PM

^ thats actually not a bad idea
January 25, 2011 5:39:41 PM

chnathan said:
It's not a gamble. 1600MHz is the memory's max speed. It will run slower no problem. You may not have luck tightening its timings, but you don't have to do that. It will be at least as good as the 1333 with a higher eventual resale value if nothing else. I'm curious what threads you saw suggesting otherwise.

Edit: Googling around I found some threads you likely saw. The thing is, everyone I read saying that was just guessing. Some even explicitly said "I have no clue, but I'd get the 1333 to be safe." 1600 will run at 1333 just fine. It's like saying "My car's rated for 120mph - am I risking damage by driving it slower?" ;) 


Ok, cool thanks. I'll go for the 1600 then. I noticed the same thing with mostly just guesses but thought I'd be erroring on the side of caution sticking with the 1333. But that's why I'm here for good advice hehe
January 25, 2011 5:43:19 PM

cthunder067 said:
Personally I would dump the Asus Mthbd for a ASRock 870 EXTREME3 AM3 AMD 870. Dump the Case and fans and just get the Antec 300 Illusion. Replace the 5770 with the Asus GTX460 768mb card, which is faster than the 5770. Replace you memory for better Gskill memory and I went with the cheaper Antec EA 500 Green Power supply to save money. You could also upgrade to the Antec Nec 620 PS. Sorry the price for the Corsair 650 PS just isn't worth it when Antec is just as good and cheaper. Too bad the sold out of the Antec EA 650.

Price: $709.02 before rebates (with Corsair 650W)
http://secure.newegg.com/Shopping/ShoppingCart.aspx?Sub...

New Price: $669.92 before rebates (with Antec EA Green 500)
http://secure.newegg.com/Shopping/ShoppingCart.aspx?Sub...

This will definitely give you a bang for your buck and will help towards future builds. And you get to stick with AMD and Geforce cards. :bounce: 



Sounds great, except the links direct me to an empty shopping cart :( 

I'll see if I can piece that together from what you said. Great advice!

I love that the new mobo supports SATA 6Gb/s :bounce:  Probably going to go back and find a HD for that now.
January 25, 2011 6:07:16 PM

I think I'm going to also upgrade the build to a MSI N460GTX -M2D1GD5/OC GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 1GB

It's currently the same price as the 768 after mail in rebate. Only negative I see according to reviews is noise from the fans, which I really don't care about. I'd even say more ambient noise the better to drown out my neighbor's partys lol

Much better then I had anticipated within $700 :D 
January 25, 2011 6:47:44 PM

don't get a 6 Gb/s mechanical hard drive. Its a waste of money.
January 25, 2011 7:21:40 PM

Irishchai said:
I think I'm going to also upgrade the build to a MSI N460GTX -M2D1GD5/OC GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 1GB

It's currently the same price as the 768 after mail in rebate. Only negative I see according to reviews is noise from the fans, which I really don't care about. I'd even say more ambient noise the better to drown out my neighbor's partys lol

Much better then I had anticipated within $700 :D 


Whoa! nice find.

Here is the link I tried earlier, this time I added your Graphics card
http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/TemporaryWishList.asp...

Price: $679.92
Incase you can't see the link. Here are the items.
Case: Antec 300 Illusion
PS: Antec EA 500 Green
Mthbd: AsRock 870 Extreme3
Cpu: Amd Athlon II x4 3.0 640 Propus
Mem: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
HD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA
Video: MSI N460GTX -M2D1GD5/OC GeForce GTX 460
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders
January 25, 2011 7:36:01 PM

if you're getting the AS Rock 870 Extreme 3, you should probly see if you can get an HD6850 instead of the 460, just so you can crossfire later (the 870 with X-Fire, but not SLI)
January 25, 2011 7:49:40 PM

Ok, I fell back on to the 3.0 GB/s hard drive I had earlier. I also dropped the SATA cable because the case supposedly includes them. Not a big deal if that isn't correct. I'll just go out to a local computer shop and buy it.

Regarding the power supply, I found the Antec EA 650 in stock today on Newegg, but it's the same price as the corsair currently. Just in favor of the more positive reviews, I'll stick with the Corsair unless there's another reason to swap it besides cost. I'm also not sure about the other Antecs of lower wattage since adding the OC GTX 460 1GB.

I also went from 4GB DDR1333 Gskill memory to slightly cheaper A-data 1600 4GB "Gaming" memory.

It's $15 over budget, but after mail-in rebates it comes out to $695. Here's the latest build:


MSI N460GTX -M2D1GD5/OC GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 1GB Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

AMD Athlon II X4 640 Propus 3.0GHz Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A-DATA Gaming Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 Memory
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit OS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASRock 870 EXTREME3 AM3 AMD 870 Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR Enthusiast Series CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Any other suggestions? I might add more fans to the case, but I'll probably build it and test internal temps before I decide. Looks like a great case.
January 25, 2011 7:52:53 PM

Sorry, I took awhile to post that last message so I missed a couple replies.

What do you think cthunder about the increase in watts needed for the 460? or if I find a cheap 6850? Is 500W enough?

I'll look in to the vcard now... Might be a similar deal I missed!
January 25, 2011 7:57:42 PM

Looks like SAPPHIRE 100315L Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 has the exact same deal, just pricier up front. $175 retail, and $160 after rebate :love:  so I'll give the 6850 a shot although it's stretching the budget a bit much till I get that rebate.
January 25, 2011 7:58:11 PM

500W is more than enough on a high quality PSU like Antec and Corsair. What's actually critical is the 12v Amperage (add them up if there are multiple rails).
January 25, 2011 8:01:38 PM

One of the things I was concerned about are the problems some people are having with Radeon Catalyst drivers. Any experience with that?
January 25, 2011 8:06:30 PM

ScrewySqrl said:
500W is more than enough on a high quality PSU like Antec and Corsair. What's actually critical is the 12v Amperage (add them up if there are multiple rails).


Good to know. What about for future upgrades like crossfiring the 6850 or upgrading to a Phenom II x4 or x6? I might still drop to the 500W though. Just curious how well it will support those upgrades eventually.
January 25, 2011 8:11:39 PM

And $2 shipping, no tax! :bounce: 

Life is good! lol
January 25, 2011 8:13:39 PM

Irishchai said:
Ok, I fell back on to the 3.0 GB/s hard drive I had earlier. I also dropped the SATA cable because the case supposedly includes them. Not a big deal if that isn't correct. I'll just go out to a local computer shop and buy it.

Regarding the power supply, I found the Antec EA 650 in stock today on Newegg, but it's the same price as the corsair currently. Just in favor of the more positive reviews, I'll stick with the Corsair unless there's another reason to swap it besides cost. I'm also not sure about the other Antecs of lower wattage since adding the OC GTX 460 1GB.

I also went from 4GB DDR1333 Gskill memory to slightly cheaper A-data 1600 4GB "Gaming" memory.

It's $15 over budget, but after mail-in rebates it comes out to $695. Here's the latest build:


MSI N460GTX -M2D1GD5/OC GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 1GB Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

AMD Athlon II X4 640 Propus 3.0GHz Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A-DATA Gaming Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 Memory
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit OS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASRock 870 EXTREME3 AM3 AMD 870 Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR Enthusiast Series CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Any other suggestions? I might add more fans to the case, but I'll probably build it and test internal temps before I decide. Looks like a great case.


Nice Build, One thing though, ScrewySqrl brought up a good point. If you want to crossfire in the future. See if you could find a cheap 6850
Asus 1GB Directcu 6850 $179.99 w/rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Asus 1GB DC/2DIS1GB 6850 $179.99 w/ rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Sapphire 1GB 6850 $174.99 w/rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
These 3 were the cheapest I could find via Newegg, Tigerdirect and Amazon.

If you don't plan on doing crossfire, then stick with the GTX 460.

Lastly, I don't see the ANtec EA 650 being available. It shows me it's sold out for 64.99.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
January 25, 2011 8:15:26 PM

Irishchai said:
Ok, cool thanks. I'll go for the 1600 then. I noticed the same thing with mostly just guesses but thought I'd be erroring on the side of caution sticking with the 1333. But that's why I'm here for good advice hehe


Cool. Just make sure it's set to 1333 in the bios/uefi. It most likely will automatically since that's the closest speed the MB supports, but no harm in checking.
January 25, 2011 8:19:06 PM

the Sea Sonic 520W S12II easily has enough amperage to crossfire a pair of 6850s, and runs $59.99

your 1600 RAM can be set to run at 1600 rather than 1333, you just have to go into the Bios and MANUALLY set it.
January 25, 2011 8:22:55 PM

cthunder067 said:


If you don't plan on doing crossfire, then stick with the GTX 460.

Lastly, I don't see the ANtec EA 650 being available. It shows me it's sold out for 64.99.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Here's the power supply I found for Antec: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I think I will plan on the crossfire route because I see a lot benchmarks showing it about equal to GTX 460 SLI. I won't have to worry about finding a cheap SLI ready board this way.

January 25, 2011 8:24:25 PM

Irishchai said:
Good to know. What about for future upgrades like crossfiring the 6850 or upgrading to a Phenom II x4 or x6? I might still drop to the 500W though. Just curious how well it will support those upgrades eventually.


Should be no trouble with the upgrade of the phenom II X4 or X6.
Here is my build it's similar to yours. I just went with a older ASUS mthbd because I liked the features and I am not really concerned with USB 3.0. I will be upgrading to Bulldozer anyways. My main goal was to put together a system for the future. And the worse case scenario will be I need to replace my mthbd and cpu.

My Build
MTHBD: ASUS M4A79XTD EVO
CPU: AMD Phenom II X6 1055T Thuban 2.8GHz
Cooler: COOLMASTER Hyper 212+
MEM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
VIDEO: ASUS EAH6850 DirectCU/2DIS/1GD5 Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5
- It's temporarily out of stock. ETA 1/24/11
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5"

OPTICAL:: Lite-On 24X DVD/Writer iHAS424-98 Lightscribe

POWER: ANTEC EA 650 Watt PS
CASE: ANTEC 300 Illusion

http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/TemporaryWishList.asp...
I hope you can read it. Only thing missing from the list is the Antec EA650w it is sold out and won't up.
January 25, 2011 8:33:54 PM

ScrewySqrl said:
the Sea Sonic 520W S12II easily has enough amperage to crossfire a pair of 6850s, and runs $59.99

your 1600 RAM can be set to run at 1600 rather than 1333, you just have to go into the Bios and MANUALLY set it.



Looks like a great PSU for the price. I'll give it a shot, dropping the total to $690 before mail-in rebates :D 
!